A/N: Happy Birthday Koohii! I hope this suffices as a birthday present! You can now see why I was randomly asking you questions and pulling plot bunnies out of you XD I know we've only known each a couple months but you make me laugh everyday! Thanks for your support! Happy Bday buddy!
This is also my entry for the 2018 Best Buds Ficathon on Psychfic!
Set somewhere around 1986.
Shawn picked up a handful of wet sand and threw it at his friend, hitting him in the back of the head. It broke into a millions chunks and left a perfect circle of sand in his target's hair.
"Shawn! Stop it!" Gus exclaimed, rubbing his head. "I already told you that sand ball fights are not the same as snowball fights!"
"Oh come on Gus, you're no fun! Besides, when will we ever actually have the chance to have a snowball fight? This is as close as we will ever get!" he responded, scooping up another ball.
"Uh uh, no! I am not getting any corneal abrasions after you throw one in my face!" he backed up and held his hands in front of him.
Shawn lowered his hand and cocked his head. "Corny whatnows?"
"Eye scratches, Shawn! I just went to the optometrist last week and I don't want to go back!"
Shawn tsked and threw the sand down as he plopped onto his towel. "You're no fun Gus." Falling on his back, he stared up at the scorching sun. It was only the second week of summer break yet it was already annoyingly hot. The breeze from the ocean only barely helped to make being outside manageable.
Gus broke Shawn out of his thoughts as his friend started sputtering. "I am fun Shawn!"
Shawn jumped back up and leaned in close to the other boy's face. "You, Burton Guster, are a uptight, no fun, goody two-shoes and you know it! You never want to do anything because you're always too afraid of getting hurt or in trouble! You never take any risks!"
Gus moved his head to the side as he tried to stop the tears that threatened to pierce his eyes. "I am not a goody two-shoes! I can do anything and I can definitely have fun!"
"Oh really? Prove it!" the hazel-eyed boy provoked.
"Prove it? How?" Gus asked, suddenly suspicious of the thoughts in his friend's mind.
Shawn looked around the beach, searching for a way to test his companion. The beach was relatively quiet, despite the summer season. Some families with young children played within shouting distance, while some teens were playing volleyball down the other way. Shawn's father had been with them most of the morning but had walked back to the house to make lunch, giving them strict instructions to stay in shallow water. Slowly grinning, an idea popped into his mind.
"Okay Gus, if you're such a risk taker, race me!" Shawn challenged.
Gus gave him a look, slightly taken aback. "Race you? That's all? Where to?"
Shawn rubbed the sand off his hands as he pretended to stretch in preparation of their competition. "The second bar."
Neither of them thought it was possible for Gus's jaw to drop as far down as it did. Just as quickly it snapped closed as he started sputtering again and gulped. "The second bar?! Shawn you're crazy! You know we aren't allowed past the first bar! It's dangerous out there! There could be rip currents and sharks and we're not-"
Shawn sighed and shook his head in mock disappointment. "Well I guess you'll just be known as Goody Two-Shoes Gus from now on…"
Gus steeled and looked out towards the open water. "No, I- I'll do it."
"Wait, really?" Shawn's head snapped up at his friend. He had always wanted to try swimming out that far before but his dad or Gus had always kept him back before. He only picked it because he was pretty sure it was something Gus would never agree to.
"Yes! You want me to prove it? If this is what it takes, I'll do it!" Gus replied, a certain fierceness Shawn had never seen in his eyes before.
"Fine!" Shawn spun his head around, making sure his dad was still nowhere to be seen. "First one back on dry land wins. On my mark!"
They both lined up at edge of the water, as if they were runners on a track.
Gus pulled his swim trunk drawstrings into a tighter knot.
Shawn slicked back his hair, as if it would give him better aerodynamics.
They both narrowed their eyes and looked out towards their target marked by a buoy- the forbidden second bar.
In an instant both boys were splashing through the shallow water, pushing at each other as they rushed to deeper waters.
The moment the water was to their waist they leaped forward, using their momentum to push them further.
Soon, the sound of heavy breathing and splashing filled their ears as the boys concentrated on swimming.
The moment one of them pulled forward a little, the other one would speed up to match or surpass the other friend.
Before they knew it they had whizzed pass the first bar.
"Shawn!" Gus wheezed, slightly ahead of his opponent. "This water is getting kind of deep!"
Shawn smiled as he swam forward to reach Gus. "Isn't it great?"
Gus almost felt like like turning around and heading back but he knew what he had to do. Sneaking a glance towards the shore, he didn't realize just how far away they had gotten. Everyone looked like ants from his view. Gulping, he turned around to concentrate on catching up with his leading friend.
Now only about fifteen feet from the buoy, Shawn quicked his quickly tiring limbs as he heard the other boy coming up his side. Glancing over at Gus, he almost felt bad for the terrified look that had overtook his buddy's face. More than anything though he felt proud of his friend for actually doing something so daring for once. At this point he didn't even care to win, as he had already made his point. Actually, no, that's not true. He definitely still wanted to win.
"Come on Gus!" he yelled as they were getting closer with every stroke.
Ten feet left. Gus started to gain the lead
Five feet left. Shawn swam harder than he ever had before.
Zero feet left. Both boys touched the buoy at the same time and used it to kick off of to turn around.
Shawn's lungs screamed as he realized that they were only half way through the race. All they had to do was get to the shore, then they could collapse in exhaustion and laugh at the experience.
Fifteen feet from the buoy, Shawn looked back to check just how close Gus was from him. Due to his own splashing, he wasn't able to immediately hear where his friend was.
Except there was no Gus to be seen.
Bringing himself to a stop while panting heavily, Shawn whipped his head around, trying to locate his missing friend.
"Gus?" he called out, looking back towards the coast in case Gus had managed to pass him up.
No. No no no no no no no, this isn't happening.
"Gus!" Shawn screamed out this time, feeling around in the water for any form of contact. "Come one, this isn't funny!"
Using his observation skills, Shawn noticed a patch of water that seemed to bubble more than the rest of the waves.
He dived under the water towards the spot, immediately seeing the other boy slowly sinking into the depths of the ocean.
Shawn rushed forward and grabbed Gus, struggling to pull his dead weight to the surface.
Gus… come on, buddy.
As they broke the surface, Shawn took in large gasps of air as he tried to keep them both afloat. The other however didn't seem to react at all to the change in breathing materials.
More scared than he could ever remember being in his life, Shawn stroked quickly with one arm as the other dragged Gus along. He was mindful to keep his head above water, despite his lack of response.
"Gus, it's going to be okay." Shawn cried out.
He felt like he was barely moving forward at all, the shore barely any closer than before.
"Help!" Shawn cried out desperately, unsure whether he was near enough for anyone to hear him.
"It's going to be okay." he whispered again.
Shawn didn't even remember when his feet first touched the bottom of the sea, the journey suddenly becoming a blur as he raced back to shore for a different purpose.
"Help! Help us!" he yelled again, catching the attention of the family that had been playing next to them on the beach.
Before he knew it there were strong hands around his friend, lifting him out of his weak hold and carrying him to the shore.
"You gotta save him! Help Gus!" he told their rescues as a few other bystanders came to their side.
Shawn collapsed into the sand, exhausted and gasping, as he watched someone claiming to be a part-time lifeguard tend to his friend. He started pushing on his chest and puffing air into the still boy.
CPR… He's doing CPR, he thought, never taking his eyes off his friend.
"Shawn!" a voice boomed from further on shore.
He sprung his head up and made eye-contact with his father, who had a basket in one hand and extra towels in the other. Before Shawn could blink, his father was at their side as well.
"Gus! What… What happened? Are you okay Shawn?" Henry demanded, grabbing the boy by the arm who had rare tears running down his already wet cheeks.
Shawn nodded weakly and gestured towards Gus. "Save him Dad! Save him!"
Henry moved to aid in getting the water out the kid's lungs when he suddenly coughed, spurting water through his mouth and nose. Quickly both men shifted the boy on his side so that he could expel the liquid from his lungs.
Shawn crawled on his knees to his friend, the sound of Gus's breathing like music to his ears.
"Gus! I'm sorry!" he sniffled. "I'm so sorry…"
Shawn shifted in the uncomfortable hospital chair as his dad talked with Gus's parents, relaying the news the doctor had given them. Gus was expected to be alright but they were keeping him for breathing treatments and to monitor something called "secondary drowning" and something else that sounded like a cleaner his mom used. He soon zoned out, too tired to listen as they continued to toss around more medical terms and other talk as they occasionally threw glances at him.
He had heard what he need to: Gus was going to be alright.
And that's all that mattered.
He looked up as his father made his way towards him and the Gusters headed back to their son's room. Shawn was confused at the mix of emotions on the man's face, and was unable to decipher what exactly was going to be said next.
"Shawn…" Henry sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. "I need you to tell me exactly what happened."
When the kid didn't immediately answer, instead becoming interested in the floor, Henry sighed again.
"Look, kid, the Gusters are very upset, and they have a right to be. They haven't spoken to Gus yet but they're already convinced they know what happened. If you want any chance of them letting you be around him again, you need to tell me your side."
Shawn looked up, shock and guilt written over his young face. "You mean… I can't be friends with Gus anymore? They can't do that!"
"Shawn, I can't control their decisions, but I might be able to talk to them. Now, explain!"
The boy looked to the ground again as he remembered with perfect clarity the entire incident from just a couple hours ago. "It was just another dare! Nothing bad was supposed to happen! I should have listened to Gus..."
"What are you talking about son?"
"I dared Gus to race to the second bar and back, okay? I know it was dangerous and stupid but I thought it would be fun… but then he didn't come back up." he explained, the scene replaying in his head.
Henry placed his hand on his son's shoulder, seeing the panic rise in his eyes as he relived the experience. "It's okay Shawn, Gus is okay… But you're right. It was an absolutely dangerous and stupid thing to do, especially with no one there to watch you two! What were you thinking?!"
His expression softened as he saw the guilt that was already eating into his son. "Look, we'll have this discussion later, with the both of you. But I think I can tell you already learned the hard way the consequences of taking dangerous risks, am I right?"
Shawn nodded silently as he cringed at what he knew would be a lecture about water safety, supervision, and more.
Both Spencers looked up at Mrs. Guster seemed to awkwardly approach them. "Uhm, Shawn? Burton wants to see you. He won't go to sleep until he does."
Shawn immediately perked up and jumped out of his chair. "Really?"
Mrs. Guster nodded before continuing. "I'm sorry for judging the situation too quickly." She reached forward and pulled Shawn into a tight hug. "Thank you for saving Burton."
Shawn gave his dad a look of confusion who just shrugged back.
She pulled back and met his eyes again. "Burton told us the whole story… That he was the one who dared you to swim out to the buoy, and about the current pulling him under until he couldn't escape… I- If you hadn't pulled him back to shore…"
"I never would have left Gus out there Mrs. G. He's my best friend. I would do anything for him." Shawn explained, uncomfortable with the praises he was receiving.
The mother nodded again and smiled. "I know. He's in room 103, if you'd like to go now. I need to speak to your father." She waved her hand at Henry.
Shawn looked up at his dad for his nod of approval before dashing out of the waiting room and into the hallway. Luckily Gus's room was one of the firsts, so if any nurses noticed him walking around on his own, they didn't comment on it.
As he creaked the door opened, the first face to meet his was Mr. Guster's. The man got up from the chair and smiled, mumbling something about finding his wife as he passed by Shawn, leaving only his best friend and himself in the room.
Gus sat propped up in the hospital bed, a nose cannula wrapped around his face to help bring oxygen back into his system. Although he looked tired and bored with the cartoons playing on the tiny mounted TV, he grinned when he saw his best friend staring at him.
"Shawn! Man, I'm happy to see you!" Gus exclaimed.
"It's a miracle you're able to at all." Shawn replied, walking over closer to his bedside, double checking for himself that his friend was indeed okay.
Gus puzzled at the remark. "What are you talking about?"
"You took the blame for me. After I almost got you drowned, Gus! Why would you do something like that? You know that it's my fault." Shawn said, trying hard to keep his emotions in check.
"But, you still saved me Shawn! We both know how my parents are. They never would have cared for that part of the story if they thought for a second you were to blame!" Gus coughed, still recovering from the inhaled water. "Besides…" he grinned.
"I'm not a tattle telling goody two shoes!"
Shawn grinned and matched his friend's expression. Gus had most certainly proved that today. Also that when it came down to it, they had each other's back. Always.
He held out a fist and watched as Gus's hand bumped his own.
Yes, everything was going to be alright.